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Wire Insider: Shirline Wilson, Washington State Executive Director of Democrats for Education Reform

Shirline Wilson, Washington State Executive Director of Democrats for Education Reform, joins us as a “Wire Insider” to discuss equity in education in post-McCleary Washington State.

A big issue for me, as Executive Director of Democrats for Education Reform, is really focused on keeping an equity frame as we start to talk about conversations around school funding, around how do we solve the big issues, and sort of cracks that are left after, sort of, in a post-McCleary world. So, when we talk about specifics like how we fund special education — and that’s problematic in our state — you know, that we really keep that equity frame in mind.

How do we attack issues that are facing least-served students? And that is whether your student’s on an IEP or if they’re from communities of color or they’re from a low-income community or a rural area of the state. How do we really balance the scales of equity so that we’re doing much more to service those students?

So, I’d love to see legislators and policymakers go back to the table and really take a look at how we have set up funding formulas, how we think about how to pull resources down to support kids in SPED. I know there’s a lot of conversation about levies and where that levy-building capacity comes from and just really some of the out-of-the-box thinking that legislators will be needing to do around how we make sure that we do right by the districts that maybe didn’t make out as well during the first-round McCleary solution.

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